The gospel is good news. The gospel is good news that needs to be shared. The gospel is also the good news that changes your life. When you understand all that Jesus did for you by living a perfect life, dying for you on the cross, rising from the dead, ascending into heaven, drawing you to salvation, forgiving you of your sin, imparting to you his grace, filling you with his Spirit, giving you purpose and meaning in life, promising you eternal life in heaven and giving you a full and meaningful life on earth, you will be changed.
Because of the gospel, we proclaim the gospel. We do not share the good news of Jesus with others simply because our parents, our friend or our church told us that we should. No, we proclaim the gospel because the gospel has changed our life. We want others to know this good news. Jesus loves them and he can save them too! It feels like a compulsion, not from anyone else other than God himself. We want people to understand how wonderful this good news is. One follower of Jesus writes it this way:
1 Corinthians 9:16
16 For if I preach the gospel, I have no reason to boast, because I am compelled to preach — and woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
Because of the gospel, we find points of connection with people. People live busy lives, and there are many things that occupy their time and their thoughts. People have a variety of likes and dislikes, hobbies and activities, things that interest them. Following the examples of Jesus and Paul in the Bible, with each person we should seek to find ways to connect with them. And from that simple connection, a conversation may develop that opens the door for the gospel to be shared.
There are so many ways to connect with people. The connections may be related to stage of life: raising children, marriage, or age-related issues. The connections may be about hobbies, interests or activities. You may talk with someone about music, art, sports, the weather or current events. In each of these situations, if you seek the Lord he will open up doors to share the gospel. Look for opportunities everywhere you go.
In addition to these conversations, you may have opportunities to build friendships with people who have similar interests as you. Perhaps through these friendships the Lord will allow you to demonstrate the gospel by the way you live your life and may he give you open doors to share the good news of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 9:22
22 … I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some.
Because of the gospel, we run to win the prize. Following Jesus is not a sprint; it is a marathon. And just like in long-distance races today, we should approach our spiritual life every day in the way that a marathon runner approaches their races: to be in the best shape possible, to keep things in their proper perspective, to play by the rules, to invite others to join in the race, to do our very best, all for God’s glory.
In a race only one person wins the prize, yet all who compete train in order to their best, with the focus on winning. Our spiritual life is not a competition against others. Rather — to use the racing metaphor — we are constantly seeking to set our own PR (personal record). We are asking God to continue to challenge us to be our best, and we rely on him to help us to be our best (our character) and to do our best (the things we do with our life). We become who God wants us to be so that we can do all the things that God wants us to do!
1 Corinthians 9:24-25
24 Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. 25 Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable crown.
In the earliest Greek and Roman marathons, the winners received laurel wreaths made of interlocking branches. Today, the winners of marathons receive trophies or medals of perishable materials. The Bible says that the rewards for living for Christ are imperishable, truly eternal rewards. Your rewards for living for Christ are out of this world.
The gospel changes our lives. Because of the gospel, we share the gospel. Because of the gospel, we find points of connection with people. Because of the gospel, we run to win the prize.